‘Tis the season for a little talk of love wouldn’t you agree?
I have wanted to write a little something on the topic for quite some time. It’s a tricky one though. You have to find the right balance of pragmatism and romanticism. It takes ninja authoring to slip some sentimental stuff across the screen of the discerning reader with ¨cheese ball¨ allergies. (You know it’s true.) But today I am inspired to try.
I recently made a solo road trip to be reunited with several childhood friends. Driving there and back I was flooded with memories and emotion. The door to the vaults of my long time memories swung wide open and I toured through the countless adventures, accomplishments, trials and challenges that defined the relationships of my past. Understanding that I was still loved by these people, and felt such love for them made me feel warm, and deeply comforted. I reflected on my life now. My family, friends and the life my husband, children and I have built. We know we are lucky and rich in the way of a life full of loving people. As I contemplated it all I was a little overwhelmed – and CAPTIVATED by all the ways and layers of loving.
We tend to think of love in fairly concrete terms. The love of a parent, a child or a romantic partner. We also tend to hold each other to some pretty strict expectations.
If you love me…
¨You wouldn’t hurt me, wouldn’t disrespect me, wouldn’t leave me.¨
¨If you love me, you wouldn’t choose another path, another person.¨
¨If you love me you would say sorry, you would change your ways, you would give me what I ask….¨ on and on it goes. We over simplify the notion of love. Which in turn makes it very complicated. As I was driving I found myself picking through the layers and I felt a sudden sense of understanding. Love is not the safe guard against mistakes, weakness, or even unkind behaviour. Love is the tool we use, to guide our behaviour, to do better, to anchor us through the rough times, and to heal when we must move on!
As I drove the snow covered country roads singing along to old favourites and day dreaming about my friends a list of ¨IS¨ and ¨IS NOT¨ began rolling through my mind:
Love is – accepting each other, even the flaws.
Love is not – allowing ourselves to be hurt repeatedly.
- You can love someone – but still need to let them go if they keep hurting you!
Self Love – is setting the standard for how you will be treated – and letting go when you must – because you must.
Love is – finding a way to honour the good, even in someone who has hurt you.
Love is not – hiding and ignoring what is wrong.
Self Love – is honouring the good in yourself, and protecting your worth above all else.
- You may have to leave someone behind – but you don´t have to hate them.
Love is – looking for solutions before walking away.
Love is not – holding on excessively despite what the other person wants, or DOES to you.
Self Love – is finding the healthy balance between these two things – for yourself.
- There will be times when it is the other person who needs to walk away. In those times self love is about honouring yourself and all that you have to offer. It is about understanding that relationships are about SO many things beyond our control. Like timing, and chemistry and history and priorities etc.
Love is forgiveness even when it is difficult.
Love is about saying you are sorry, even when THAT is difficult.
Love is about honesty – even when it is terrifying and you feel vulnerable and exposed.
It is not always needing to be right (even when you are – or were!)
Love is not about keeping tabs and evening the score.
Love is not ¨payback¨ moves or grudges, or having the upper hand.
It is about making each other feel safe, and wanted, in whatever capacity makes sense in your life right now!
A Loved one lets go of agendas and supports YOU. Roots for you – even if what you want is not what they wish you would want.
Sometimes – love is romance. It can be hot and steamy. You may want to find a dark corner and misbehave like a bad teenager… or it can be more subtle, more relaxed. It can even be grubby and boring!
Sometimes love is pragmatic. It can be, making each other cups of hot tea and soothing a forehead with your cool hand. Or it can demand all your strength and will, as you hold each other through a storm of faith, or health, or conscience or trauma.
LOVE CAN BE PLATONIC!! Even when one or both of you wish it weren´t!!
This is a BIG one.…when you LOVE someone – you put their needs in front of your desires, and there will be times when what they NEED is your friendship and love – but not YOU.
In those times – self love is feeling the feelings, and accepting the hurt, knowing that this is just LIFE, and LOVE and in honouring your loved ones needs….you are LOVING THEM WELL!!! This takes strength – but it is such a gift.
Love is not about remembering birthdays and special dates. It is about showing each other respect every day. It is about seeing the goodness and capacity and potential in one another. Helping each other grow!
Love is not shown in lavish gifts and fancy surprises. Though those things are fun and generous. LOVE is shown through acts of kindness, support and self offering.
Love is not demanding to be accommodated, it is about seeking to make space for each others needs, and quirks. Striving NOT to take more space than we allow each other, to be quirky, flawed or forgiven.
Love is valuing each others perspective, time, advice, input.
Sometimes – it is a wordless passing of time, just enjoying the privilege of each others presence, energy and LOVE!
Love is, slowing down sometimes.
Saying nothing sometimes,
Walking side by side sometimes – and other times it is standing at the sidelines with your heart in your throat!
Love can be holding on with all your strength – or letting go, despite your aching heart.
Love is sharing…sometimes we find ourselves giving more, sometimes taking more.
It is humbling ourselves when the moment calls upon us to do so. And building each other up when it is required.
It is having a standard for one another – and holding ourselves accountable…but not expecting perfection.
It is all SO simple….and yet…not at all…